In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Senator Ahmed Yerima of Zamfara state defended his position on the controversial topic #ChildNotBride, an issue he said “is all about the definition of full age”.
The removal of Section 29 (4b) of theNigerian constitution as intended by the National Assembly will leave citizens with Section 29 (4a) alone. This is against Islamic law which states that “any married woman is of full age,” he said, adding that “some don’t know that the provision is available in both the 1999 and 1979 constitutions”.
The Senator who argued his case on the floor of the Senate using Islamic laws as defense, said his position on “any woman who is married shall be deemed full of age” is “provided for in the Quran.”
He cited Chapter four of the Quran to back his argument.
He stated that the “the issue of full age was given based on the maturity, that is, age of puberty of a girl,” adding that he recently discovered that the age of puberty as defined by European laws is given as between 12 and 14.
While arguing his case, he stated that puberty is define by the start of a girl’s menstrual cycle, which may commence at age 9 and “when the breasts are fully mature”.
Asked to set a clear distinction between maturity and puberty, the Senator insisted that “a married woman is a married woman”.
The Child Right’s Act which stipulates the age of maturity as 18 “is not constitutional,” he said, insisting that “once a girl reaches the age of puberty” she is assumed to be matured and determined by her parents and ready for marriage.
On the number of his wives who are under the age of 21, he said that “so long as I don’t do any action that is against Islamic law, I am covered by the Nigerian constitution”.